With the 2013 Button-O-Matic reveal only a week away, we decided it was time to take a look back at the history of Busy Beaver’s limited edition artist series.
It all began in 2001 in New York. Busy Beaver’s owner, Christen Carter, was hanging out in NYC with her friend Allen, an avid manhole cover collector who also ran a vending machine route. They had what Christen calls “a peanut butter and chocolate moment” when the two of theme realized buttons and vending machines could really work together! Christen designed a series of buttons which Allen then distributed to record stores across NYC.
When Christen returned to Chicago her friend and Busy Beaver co-worker Rosie encouraged her to set up her own button machine route locally so they could distribute limited edition art buttons. Rosie and Christen spent the summer of 2002 buying and rehabbing old vending machines. Their first curated series included 96 different buttons designs created by friends, co-workers, and local artists. They named the project “So and So’s Button-O-Matic” as an irreverent nod to the fine art world where gallery owners often named their spaces after themselves. It wasn’t until 2008 that the project was re-branded as the “Busy Beaver Button-O-Matic”.
During the past eleven years the Button-O-Matic series has featured dozens of artists and hundreds of amazing button designs. Take a look at some of the artwork from series 1 through 12:
Check back next week for the Button-O-Matic Series 13 announcement.